The Mechanical Behavior of a Mammalian Lung Alveolar Duct Model

[+] Author and Article Information
E. Denny, R. C. Schroter

Physiological Flow Studies Group, Centre for Biological and Medical Systems, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2BY, England

J Biomech Eng 117(3), 254-261 (Aug 01, 1995) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2794178 History: Received October 28, 1993; Revised July 26, 1994; Online October 30, 2007


A model for the mechanical properties of an alveolar duct is analyzed using the finite element method. Its geometry comprises an assemblage of truncated octahedral alveoli surrounding a longitudinal air duct. The amounts and distributions of elastin and collagen fiber bundles, modeled by separate stress-strain laws, are based upon published data for dogs. The surface tension of the air-liquid interface is modeled using an area-dependent relationship. Pressure-volume curves are computed that compare well with experimental data for both saline-filled and air-filled lungs. Pressure-volume curves of the separate elastin and collagen fiber contributions are similar in form to the behavior of saline-filled lungs treated with either elastase or collagenase. A comparison with our earlier model, based upon a single alveolus, shows the duct to have a behavior closer to reported experimental data.

Copyright © 1995 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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